Howard Cosell

Howard William Cosell (/koʊˈsɛl/; born Howard William Cohen; March 25, 1918 – April 23, 1995) was an American sports journalist and author, who was prominent and influential on radio, television and print media from the early 1960s into the mid 1980s. He was also an actor who played minor roles in several TV programs and movies. Cosell was widely known for his blustery, confident personality.[1] Cosell said of himself, "Arrogant, pompous, obnoxious, vain, cruel, verbose, a showoff. There's no question that I'm all of those things."[2] In its obituary for Cosell, The New York Times described Cosell's effect on American sports coverage: "He entered sports broadcasting in the mid-1950s, when the predominant style was unabashed adulation, [and] offered a brassy counterpoint that was first ridiculed, then copied until it became the dominant note of sports broadcasting."[3]

In 1993, TV Guide named Howard Cosell The All-Time Best Sportscaster in its issue celebrating 40 years of television.[4]

In 1996, Howard Cosell was ranked #47 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time.[5]

Howard Cosell
Howard cosell 1975
Cosell in 1975
Howard William Cohen

March 25, 1918
DiedApril 23, 1995 (aged 77)
Alma materNew York University
OccupationJournalist, author, radio personality, columnist, sports commentator, lawyer, television personality
Years active1953–1993
Mary Edith Abrams "Emmy" Cosell
(m. 1944; died 1990)
Military career
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1941–1945
UnitUnited States Army Transportation Corps
Battles/warsWorld War II

Early life, family, and education

Cosell was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina,[6] to accountant Isidore Cohen and his wife Nellie (Rosenthal) Cohen.[7][8] The grandson of a rabbi,[9] he was raised in Brooklyn, New York. He attended Brooklyn public schools, including Alexander Hamilton High School. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in English from New York University, where he was a member of Pi Lambda Phi fraternity and Phi Beta Kappa. He then earned a law degree at New York University School of Law, where he was a member of the law review.

The name of Cosell's grandfather was changed by immigration authorities when he entered the United States, Howard Cosell said he changed his name from "Cohen" to "Cosell" while a law student as a way to honor his father and grandfather by reverting to a version of his family's original Polish name.[10]


Cosell was admitted to the bar in the state of New York in 1941, but when the U.S. entered World War II in December 1941, Cosell soon afterwards entered the United States Army Transportation Corps, where he was promoted to the rank of major. During his time in the service, he married Mary Edith Abrams in 1944 in a judge's chambers in Brooklyn. He left the service in 1945 when the war ended.

Early legal career

After the war, Cosell began practicing law in Manhattan, primarily union law. Some of his clients were actors, and some were athletes, including Willie Mays. Cosell's own hero in athletics was Jackie Robinson, who served as a personal and professional inspiration to him in his career.

Introduction to broadcasting

Cosell also represented the Little League of New York, when in 1953 an ABC Radio manager asked him to host a show on New York flagship WABC featuring Little League participants. The show marked the beginning of a relationship with WABC and ABC Radio that would last his entire broadcasting career.

Cosell hosted the Little League show for three years without pay, and then decided to leave the law field to become a full-time broadcaster. He approached Robert Pauley, President of ABC Radio, with a proposal for a weekly show. Pauley told him the network could not afford to develop untried talent, but he would be put on the air if he would get a sponsor. To Pauley's surprise, Cosell came back with a relative's shirt company as a sponsor, and "Speaking of Sports" was born.[11]

Cosell took his "tell it like it is" approach when he teamed with the ex–Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher "Big Numba Thirteen" Ralph Branca on WABC's pre- and post-game radio shows of the New York Mets in their nascent years beginning in 1962. He pulled no punches in taking members of the hapless expansion team to task.

Otherwise on radio, Cosell did his show, Speaking of Sports, as well as sports reports and updates for affiliated radio stations around the country; he continued his radio duties even after he became prominent on television. Cosell then became a sports anchor at WABC-TV in New York, where he served in that role from 1961 to 1974. He expanded his commentary beyond sports to a radio show entitled Speaking of Everything.[12]

Rise to prominence, supports African-American athletes

Cosell rose to prominence in the early 1960s, covering boxer Muhammad Ali, starting when he still fought under his birth name, Cassius Clay. The two seemed to have an affinity despite their different personalities, and complemented each other in broadcasts. Cosell was one of the first sportscasters to refer to the boxer as Muhammad Ali after he changed his name, and supported him when he refused to be inducted into the military. Cosell was also an outspoken supporter of Olympic sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith, after they raised their fists in a "black power" salute during their 1968 medal ceremony in Mexico City. In a time when many sports broadcasters avoided touching social, racial, or other controversial issues, and kept a certain level of collegiality towards the sports figures they commented on, Cosell did not, and indeed built a reputation around his catchphrase, "I'm just telling it like it is."

Cosell's style of reporting transformed sports broadcasting in the United States. Whereas previous sportscasters had mostly been known for color commentary and lively play-by-play, Cosell had an intellectual approach. His use of analysis and context brought television sports reporting closer to "hard" news reporting. However, his distinctive staccato voice, accent, syntax, and cadence were a form of color commentary all their own.

Cosell earned his greatest interest from the public when he backed Ali after the boxer's championship title was stripped from him for refusing military service during the Vietnam War. Cosell found vindication several years later when he was able to inform Ali that the United States Supreme Court had unanimously ruled in favor of Ali in Clay v. United States.

Cosell called most of Ali's fights immediately before and after the boxer returned from his three-year exile in October 1970. Those fights were broadcast on taped delay usually a week after they were transmitted on closed circuit. However, Cosell did not call two of Ali's biggest fights, the Rumble in the Jungle in October 1974 and the first Ali–Joe Frazier bout in March 1971. Promoter Jerry Perenchio selected actor Burt Lancaster, who had never provided color commentary for a fight, to work the bout with longtime announcer Don Dunphy and former light-heavyweight champion Archie Moore. Cosell attended that fight as a spectator only. He would do a voiceover of that bout, when it was shown on ABC a few days before the second Ali-Frazier bout in January 1974.

Perhaps his most famous call took place in the fight between Joe Frazier and George Foreman for the World Heavyweight Championship in Kingston, Jamaica in 1973. When Foreman knocked Frazier to the mat the first of six times, roughly two minutes into the first round, Cosell yelled out:

Down Goes Frazier! Down Goes Frazier! Down Goes Frazier!

His call of Frazier's first trip to the mat became one of the most quoted phrases in American sports broadcasting history. Foreman beat Frazier by a TKO in the second round to win the World Heavyweight Championship.

Cosell provided blow-by-blow commentary for ABC of some of boxing's biggest matches during the 1970s and the early 1980s, including Ken Norton's upset win over Ali in 1973 and Ali's defeat of Leon Spinks in 1978 recapturing the Heavyweight title for the third time. His signature toupee was unceremoniously knocked off in front of live ABC cameras when a scuffle broke out after a broadcast match between Scott LeDoux and Johnny Boudreaux. Cosell quickly retrieved his hairpiece and replaced it. During interviews in studio with Ali, the champion would tease and threaten to remove the hairpiece with Cosell playing along but never allowing it to be touched. On one of these occasions, Ali quipped, "Cosell, you're a phony, and that thing on your head comes from the tail of a pony."[13]

With typical headline generating drama, Cosell abruptly ended his broadcast association with the sport of boxing while providing coverage for ABC for the heavyweight championship bout between Larry Holmes and Randall "Tex" Cobb on November 26, 1982. Halfway through the bout and with Cobb absorbing a beating, Cosell stopped providing anything more than rudimentary comments about round number and the participants punctuated with occasional declarations of disgust during the 15 rounds. He declared shortly after the fight to a national television audience that he had broadcast his last professional boxing match.

Cosell also was an ABC commentator for the television broadcast of the second of the two famous 1973 "Battles of the Sexes" tennis matches, this one between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King.


During Cosell's tenure as a sportscaster, he frequently clashed with longtime New York Daily News sports columnist Dick Young, who rarely missed an opportunity to denigrate the broadcaster in print as an "ass", a "shill", or most often, "Howie the Fraud". Young would sometimes stand near Cosell and shout profanities so that the audio he was taping for his radio show would be unusable. Writing about Cosell, sportswriter Jimmy Cannon sniped, "This is a guy who changed his name, put on a toupee and tried to convince the world that he tells it like it is."[14] He further added, "If Howard Cosell were a sport, he'd be roller derby."[15]

Cosell, according to longtime ABC racecaster Chris Economaki, "had an enormous and monumental ego, and may have been the most pompous man I've ever met." Cosell ripped Economaki for a miscue in an interview with Cale Yarborough for ABC "(and he) never let me forget that". At an ABC Christmas party Economaki's wife asked to be introduced to Cosell and Chris said, "'Howard, for some inexplicable reason my wife wants to meet you...' and it (ticked) him off to no end. He really took it personally."[16]

NFL: Monday Night Football and later career

In 1970, ABC executive producer for sports Roone Arledge hired Cosell to be a commentator for Monday Night Football, the first time in 15 years that American football was broadcast weekly in prime time. Cosell was accompanied most of the time by ex-football players Frank Gifford and "Dandy" Don Meredith.

Cosell was openly contemptuous of ex-athletes appointed to prominent sportscasting roles solely on account of their playing fame. He regularly clashed on-air with Meredith, whose laid-back style was in sharp contrast to Cosell's more critical approach to the games.

The Cosell-Meredith-Gifford dynamic helped make Monday Night Football a success; it frequently was the number one rated program in the Nielsen ratings. Cosell's inimitable style distinguished Monday Night Football from previous sports programming, and ushered in an era of more colorful broadcasters and 24/7 TV sports coverage.

It was during his MNF run that Cosell coined a phrase that came to be so identified with football that other announcers and spectators—notably Chris Berman—began to repeat it. An ordinary kickoff return began with Cosell giving commentary about a player's difficult life. It became extraordinary when he suddenly observed, "He could go all the way!" As evidenced by the thousands of websites that cite Cosell's quote, many sports commentators consider this to be one of the most famous sports quips of all time.


Along with Monday Night Football, Cosell worked the Olympics for ABC. He played a key role on ABC's coverage of the Palestinian terror group Black September's mass murder of Israeli athletes in Munich at the 1972 Summer Olympics; providing reports directly from the Olympic Village (his image can be seen and voice heard in Steven Spielberg's film about the terror attack).

In the 1976 Summer Games in Montreal, and the 1984 games in Los Angeles, Cosell was the main voice for boxing. Sugar Ray Leonard won the gold medal in his light welterweight class at Montreal, beginning his meteoric rise to a world professional title a few years later, and Cosell became close to Leonard, during this period, announcing many of his fights.[17]

"The Bronx is burning"

Cosell was widely attributed with saying the famous phrase "the Bronx is burning". Cosell is credited with saying the quote during Game 2 of the 1977 World Series, which took place in Yankee Stadium on October 12, 1977. For a couple of years, fires had routinely erupted in the South Bronx, mostly due to owners of low-value properties burning their own real estate for insurance money. During the bottom of the first inning, an ABC aerial camera panned a few blocks from Yankee Stadium to a building on fire. The scene became a defining image of New York City in the 1970s. Cosell supposedly stated, "There it is, ladies and gentlemen, The Bronx is burning."[18] This was later picked up by presidential candidate Ronald Reagan, who then made a special trip to the Bronx, to illustrate the failures of politicians to address the issues in that part of New York City.

In 2005, author Jonathan Mahler published Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx Is Burning, a book about New York in 1977, and credited Cosell with the title quote during the aerial coverage of the fire. ESPN produced a 2007 mini-series based on the book The Bronx Is Burning. Cosell's comment seemed to have captured the widespread view that New York City was in a state of decline.

The truth was discovered after Major League Baseball published a complete DVD set of all of the games of the 1977 World Series. Coverage of the fire began with Keith Jackson's comments regarding the enormity of the blaze, while Cosell added that President Jimmy Carter had visited that area just days before. At the top of the second inning, the fire was once again shown from a helicopter-mounted camera, and Cosell commented that the New York Fire Department had a hard job to do in the Bronx as there were always numerous fires. In the bottom of the second, Cosell informed the audience that it was an abandoned building that was burning and no lives were in danger. There was no further comment on the fire, and Cosell appears to have never said "The Bronx is Burning" (at least not on camera) during Game 2.[18]

Mahler's confusion could have arisen from a 1974 documentary entitled The Bronx Is Burning: it is likely Mahler confused the documentary with his recollection of Cosell's comments when writing his book.[19]

Reports the death of John Lennon

On the night of December 8, 1980, during a Monday Night Football game between the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots, Cosell shocked the television audience by interrupting his regular commentary duties to deliver a news bulletin on the murder of John Lennon in the midst of a live broadcast. Word had been passed to Cosell and Frank Gifford by Roone Arledge, who was president of ABC's news and sports divisions at the time, near the end of the game.

Cosell was initially apprehensive about announcing Lennon's death. Off the air, Cosell conferred with Gifford and others saying "Fellas, I just don't know, I'd like your opinion. I can't see this game situation allowing for that news flash, can you?" Gifford replied, "Absolutely. I can see it." Gifford later told Cosell, "Don't hang on it. It's a tragic moment and this is going to shake up the whole world."

On air, Gifford prefaced the announcement saying, "And I don't care what's on the line, Howard, you have got to say what we know in the booth." Cosell then replied:

Yes, we have to say it. Remember this is just a football game, no matter who wins or loses. An unspeakable tragedy confirmed to us by ABC News in New York City: John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the West Side of New York City—the most famous, perhaps, of all of The Beatles—shot twice in the back, rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, dead on arrival. Hard to go back to the game after that newsflash, which, in duty bound, we have to take.

Lennon had been shot four times and had not been pronounced dead on arrival, but the facts of the shooting were not clear at the time of the announcement. Lennon once appeared on Monday Night Football, during the December 9, 1974 telecast of a 23–17 Washington Redskins win over the Los Angeles Rams, and was interviewed for a short breakaway segment by Cosell.

ABC had obtained this scoop as a result of the coincidence of an ABC employee, Alan Weiss, being at the same emergency room that Lennon was brought to that night.[20] This unwittingly violated a request to the hospital by Lennon's wife, Yoko Ono, to delay reporting his death until she could tell their son, Sean, herself. Sean, age 5, was not watching the football game (or any television) that evening as it was near midnight, and Ono was able to break the news to him.[21] NBC beat ABC to the punch, however, interrupting The Tonight Show just minutes before Cosell's announcement with a "breaking news" segment.[22]

Sports journalism and ABC SportsBeat magazine show

In the fall of 1981, Cosell debuted a serious investigative 30-minute magazine show, ABC SportsBeat on ABC's weekend schedule. He made news and covered topics that were not part of general sports coverage - including the first story about drugs in professional sports (the story of former Minnesota Viking Carl Eller's cocaine use), an in-depth look at how NFL owners negotiated tax breaks and incentives for building new stadiums, and together with Arthur Ashe, an investigation into apartheid and sports. Though ratings were low, Cosell and his staff earned three Emmy Awards for excellence in reporting, and broke new ground in sports journalism.[23] At the time, ABC SportsBeat was the first and only regularly scheduled network program devoted solely to sports journalism.

To produce this pioneering program, Cosell recruited a number of employees from outside the ranks of those that produced games, who he felt might be too invested in the success of the athletes and leagues to look at the hard news. He brought in Michael Marley, then a sportswriter for The Washington Post, Lawrie Mifflin, a writer for The New York Times, and a 20-year old researcher who quickly rose to an associate producer, Alexis Denny. As a sophomore at Yale University, Ms. Denny had been a student in a seminar that Cosell taught on the "Business of Big-Time Sports in America", and was selected by the Director of Monday Night Football to join their production crew. She took her junior year off to join Cosell's staff at ABC Headquarters in New York City, and produced many segments, including in 1983 a half-hour special report previewing the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.[24] Despite the games being one of ABC's biggest investments, with a record-breaking 225 million dollar rights fee at the time,[25] the 30-minute documentary-style program produced by Denny showed many sides of the questions about the viability of the Games themselves - from concerns about traffic, pollution and terrorism, to a look at how the sponsorship deals were structured.

In his 1985 autobiography, Cosell reflected on his highly diverse work, and concluded that the SportsBeat series had been his favourite.[17]

Non-sports-related appearances

Cosell's colorful personality and distinctive voice were featured to fine comedic effect in several sports-themed episodes of the ABC TV series The Odd Couple. His feuds with New York City sportswriter Oscar Madison (Jack Klugman) mirrored the real life feuds he had with some of New York's leading sportswriters. He also appeared in the Woody Allen films Bananas, Sleeper and Broadway Danny Rose. Such was his celebrity that while he never appeared on the show, Cosell's name was frequently used as an all-purpose answer on the popular 1970s game show Match Game. Cosell also had a cameo in the 1988 movie Johnny Be Good featuring Robert Downey Jr., Anthony Michael Hall and Uma Thurman. His particular speech pattern was also imitated by one of the characters in the film Better Off Dead.

Cosell's national fame was further boosted in Fall 1975 when Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell aired on Saturday evenings on ABC. This was an hour-long variety show, broadcast live from the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City and hosted by Cosell, which is not to be confused with the NBC series Saturday Night Live (which coincidentally also premiered in 1975 under its original title of NBC's Saturday Night, to avoid confusion with Cosell's show). Despite bringing a young comedian, Billy Crystal, to national prominence and for showcasing the American TV debut of the Bay City Rollers (who later had a hit song by the name of "Saturday Night"), Cosell's show was canceled after three months. Cosell later hosted the 1984-1985 season finale of Saturday Night Live.

Cosell was the announcer of Frank Sinatra's 1974 ABC television special Sinatra – The Main Event.[26]

Cosell appeared alongside Muhammad Ali, Frank Sinatra, Richie Havens, and others on a 1976 spoken word novelty record, The Adventures of Ali and His Gang vs. Mr. Tooth Decay.[27]

Beginning in 1976, Cosell hosted a series of specials known as Battle of the Network Stars. The two-hour specials pitted stars from each of the three broadcast networks against each other in various physical and mental competitions. Cosell hosted all but one of the nineteen specials, including the final one airing in 1988.

Criticism of boxing

Cosell denounced professional boxing in a November 26, 1982 WBC heavyweight championship bout between titleholder Larry Holmes and a clearly outmatched Randall "Tex" Cobb at the Astrodome. The fight was held two weeks after the fatal fight between Ray Mancini and Duk Koo Kim, when Kim died shortly after the fight. Cosell famously asked the rhetorical question, "I wonder if that referee [Steve Crosson] understands that he is constructing an advertisement for the abolition of the very sport that he's a part of?"[28] Cosell, horrified over the brutality of the one-sided fight, said that if the referee did not stop the fight he would never broadcast a professional fight again.[29]

Major boxing reforms were later implemented, the most important of which allows referees to stop clearly one-sided fights early in order to protect the health of the fighters. In amateur boxing, one-sided fights would be automatically stopped if one fighter had a score considerably higher than his opponent. Hitherto, only the ring physician had the authority to halt a bout. Another change was the reduction of championship bouts from 15 rounds to 12 rounds by the WBC. (The fatal blows to Kim were in Rounds 13 and 14.) The WBA quickly followed suit, and the IBF did so in 1988. Cosell did not cut off ties with the United States Amateur Boxing Federation. His 1984 broadcasts of the Olympic Trials, box-offs, and the 1984 Summer Olympics boxing tournament, all of which were at the amateur level with much shorter fights, were his last professional calls of the sport.

NFL: "Monkey Comment" criticism

On September 5, 1983, Cosell announced a Monday night game between the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys. During the broadcast, Cosell stated in reference to Redskins wide receiver Alvin Garrett after his sixth reception of the evening, that Washington Coach Joe Gibbs "wanted that kid, and that little monkey gets loose doesn't he". The comment brought immediate criticism for being racist, specifically by then-president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference the Rev. Joseph Lowery, who demanded Cosell apologize. Cosell declined, stating first that he did not recall making the statement and then that it was an appellation he had previously used for athletes of all races and a term of endearment he employed with his grandchildren. Furthermore, Cosell proclaimed that his civil rights stands for the rights of black athletes spoke for themselves.

I Never Played the Game, and reaction

After Cosell's memoir I Never Played the Game, which among other things chronicled his disenchantment with fellow ABC commentators, was published in September 1985, Cosell was taken off scheduled announcing duties for that year's World Series and was dismissed by ABC television shortly thereafter. Cosell's book was seen by many as a bitter "hate rant" against those who had offended him. TV Guide published excerpts of his memoirs and reported that they had never had as many viewers' responses and they were overwhelmingly negative towards Cosell. The magazine reported some of the "printable" ones saying things such as "Will Rogers never met Howard Cosell".

In I Never Played the Game, Cosell popularized the word "jockocracy" (originally coined by author Robert Lipsyte), describing how athletes were given announcing jobs that they had not earned. Coincidentally, he was replaced for the 1985 World Series broadcast by Tim McCarver, himself a former baseball player, to join Al Michaels and Jim Palmer. (The title of the book is a double entendre, meaning that Cosell never actually played the game of football or any other professional sport he broadcast as well as implying that he never played the "game" of corporate politics.) Cosell is notably absent from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.[30][31]

In his later years, Cosell briefly hosted his own television talk show, Speaking of Everything, authored his last book (What's Wrong With Sports), and continued to appear on radio and television, becoming more outspoken about his criticisms of sports in general.

Later life and death

In 1993, Cosell was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.[32] A year later, in 1994, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. He was also the 1995 recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. After his wife of 46 years, Mary Edith Abrams Cosell (known as "Emmy") died from a massive heart attack in 1990, Cosell largely withdrew from the public eye and his health began failing. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1991, and had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in his chest. He also had several minor strokes, and was diagnosed with heart and kidney disease and Parkinson's.

Cosell died at Hospital for Joint Diseases in Manhattan on April 23, 1995, aged 77, of a cardiac embolism.[1]


He was placed as number one on David J. Halberstam's list of Top 50 All Time Network Television Sports Announcers on Yahoo! Sports. The sports complex at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem is named for Howard and Emmy Cosell.

In 2010, Cosell was posthumously inducted into the Observer's Category in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.[33]

Cosell's daughter, Hilary Cosell, was a producer of NBC SportsWorld, and was one of the first women sports producers. She was also the senior producer of her father's show, Speaking of Everything with Howard Cosell, an assistant producer of ABC News 20/20, and received four Emmy Award nominations.[34] In 1985, Hilary Cosell's book Woman on a Seesaw was published by G.P. Putnam's Sons.

Cosell's nephew, Greg Cosell, is a longtime employee at NFL Films.

Jared Cohane, Cosell's grandson, won an Emmy Award for his work on ESPN SportsCenter.

Cosell's grandson, Colin Cosell, was named public address announcer (along with Marysol Castro) at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, in 2018. Colin Cosell intends to honor his grandfather by enunciating Mets' third baseman Todd Frazier's last name the same way Cosell did with Joe Frazier's name in his famous "Down Goes Frazier!" call.[35]

Film appearances

Cosell appeared as himself in five films: Woody Allen's Bananas (1971), Walt Disney Productions' The World's Greatest Athlete (1973), Two-Minute Warning (1976), Woody Allen's Broadway Danny Rose (1984), and Johnny Be Good (1988). He also appeared as himself in two episodes of The Odd Couple: "Big Mouth" (1972) and "Your Mother Wears Army Boots" (1975).[36]

In popular culture

The Muppets had a recurring character, Louis Kazagger, a plaid-clothed sportscaster with punctuated nasal inflection, that parodied Cosell.

The band Ben Folds Five have a song titled "Boxing," which was written as a fictional monologue from Muhammad Ali to Howard Cosell during the decline of his boxing career.

In Michael Mann's 2001 film Ali, Cosell is played by Jon Voight, who earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance.[37]

In the 2002 television film Monday Night Mayhem, Cosell was played by John Turturro.[38]

Jimmy Spicer's 1980 rap single "The Adventures of Super Rhyme" describes a meeting with the "KBC" broadcaster "Coward Hosell".

In the 1985 film Better Off Dead, one of the two Asian-American teenage brothers who regularly challenged John Cusack's character to a street race is said to have learned English from listening to Cosell.[39]

On April 4, 1981, during the beginning of the episode "Drugs" (Season 3 episode 11) of the teen sketch comedy show on Nickelodeon You Can't Do That on Television," the characters made several references to Howard Cosell. One of the quotes was from Christine McGlade who said, "You know, I bet when Howard Cosell was a kid, he spent all the time, when he should have been doing his homework, doing his homework. Instead of reading sports magazines like every other normal kid."

In the 1973 Woody Allen film Sleeper, Allen's character Miles Monroe is at one point after his capture shown a commentary by Howard Cosell which the interrogator theorizes was used as a torture device and to which Monroe agrees.


  1. ^ a b "Howard Cosell, Outspoken Sportscaster On Television and Radio, Is Dead at 77". The New York Times. April 24, 1995. Retrieved 2014-12-23. Howard Cosell, who delighted and infuriated listeners during a 30-year career as the nation's best-known and most outspoken sports broadcaster, died yesterday at the Hospital for Joint Diseases in Manhattan. He was 77. ...
  2. ^ "NFL Top 10 Game Voices".
  3. ^ "The Man in the Yellow Blazer". The New York Times.
  4. ^ TV Guide. 1993. p. 62.
  5. ^ "Special Collectors' Issue: 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time". TV Guide (December 14–20). 1996.
  6. ^ Robert McG. Thomas Jr. (April 24, 1995). "Howard Cosell, Outspoken Sportscaster On Television and Radio, Is Dead at 77". The New York Times.
  7. ^ "Howard Cosell Biography (1920-)".
  8. ^ "Cosell, Howard - Dictionary definition of Cosell, Howard - FREE online dictionary".
  9. ^ Leonard Shapiro. April 24, 1995. Howard Cosell Dies at 77. The Washington Post. Retrieved: May 18, 2013
  10. ^ Bloom, John (2010). There You Have it: The Life, Legacy, and Legend of Howard Cosell. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press. p. 67. ISBN 978-1-55849-837-2.
  11. ^ "Robert Pauley, Former Head of ABC Radio, Dies at 85", The New York Times, May 14, 2009.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Ali and Cosell, Irresistible Enigmas".
  14. ^ William Plummer. "The Mouth That Roared". People.
  15. ^ Nack, William. "Telling It Like It Is", Sports Illustrated, May 1, 1995.
  16. ^ Economaki, Chris (with Dave Argabright) (2006) LET 'EM ALL GO! The Story of Auto Racing by the Man Who Was There (Fisher, IN: Books By Dave Argabright), p. 191. ISBN 0-9719639-3-2.
  17. ^ a b "I Never Played The Game", by Howard Cosell, 1985
  18. ^ a b Flood, Joe (May 16, 2010). "Why the Bronx Burned". New York Post.
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 13, 2010. Retrieved 2009-12-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ Toni Monkovic (December 6, 2010). "Behind Cosell's Announcement of Lennon's Death". The Fifth Down: The New York Times N.F.L. Blog. The New York Times.
  21. ^ ESPN Outside the Lines First Report, December 8, 2010
  22. ^ "NBC TV bulletin - John Lennon is dead". Retrieved September 29, 2013.
  23. ^ "Cosell, Howard - 1993 Hall of Fame Inductee". American Sportscasters Online. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  24. ^ Ribowsky, Mark (Nov 14, 2011). Howard Cosell: The Man, The Myth and the Transformation of American Sports. W.W.Horton. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  25. ^ Nelson, Murray R. (2013). American Sports: A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas. ABC-CLIO. p. 947. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  26. ^ Vincent Terrace (June 19, 2013). Television Specials: 5,336 Entertainment Programs, 1936-2012, 2d ed. McFarland. pp. 157–. ISBN 978-1-4766-1240-9.
  27. ^ Jason Heller (June 6, 2016). "Remembering Muhammad Ali's Trippy, Anti-Cavity Kids' Record". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  28. ^ "Larry Holmes vs Tex Cobb - 4/4". Retrieved September 29, 2013.
  29. ^ Cosell, INPTG, 1985
  30. ^ Billson, Marky (August 4, 2010). "As strange as it sounds, Howard Cosell has never won Rozelle award". Sports Illustrated.
  31. ^ Missing: Howard Cosell has still not won Pro Football Hall of Fame's Rozelle Award
  32. ^ "Howard Cosell".
  33. ^ "Howard Cosell".
  34. ^ Cosell, Hilary (August 4, 1985). "The Career: A Different Sort of Trap". The Chicago Tribune ( Retrieved 2018-10-29.
  35. ^
  36. ^ Howard Cosell, TV Guide
  37. ^ reinout_vanschie (December 25, 2001). "Ali (2001)". IMDb.
  38. ^ imhetzer88 (January 14, 2002). "Monday Night Mayhem (TV Movie 2002)". IMDb.
  39. ^ pleiades10 (October 11, 1985). "Better Off Dead... (1985)". IMDb.

Further reading

  • Bloom, John. (2010). There You Have It: The Life, Legacy, and Legend of Howard Cosell. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press. ISBN 978-1-55849-836-5.
  • Cosell, Howard. (1973). Cosell. Chicago: Playboy Press. ISBN 1-199-31000-X.
  • Cosell, Howard. (1974). Like It Is. Chicago: Playboy Press. ISBN 0-872-23414-2.
  • Cosell, Howard, with Peter Bonventre. (1985). I Never Played the Game. New York: William Morrow & Co. ISBN 0-688-04481-6.
  • Cosell, Howard, with Shelby Whitfield. (1991). What's Wrong with Sports. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-70840-6.
  • Gunther, Mark, and Bill Carter. (1988). Monday Night Mayhem: The Inside Story of ABC's Monday Night Football. New York: Beech Tree Books. ISBN 0-688-07553-3.
  • Hyatt, Wesley. (2007). Kicking Off the Week: A History of Monday Night Football on ABC Television, 1970-2005. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. ISBN 0-786-42969-0.
  • Ribowsky, Mark. (2011). Howard Cosell: The Man, the Myth, and the Transformation of American Sports. New York: W. W. Norton & Co. ISBN 0-393-08017-X.

External links

Alex Wallau

Alex Wallau is a former President of the ABC television network.

Wallau began his career with ABC in 1976, when he joined the network's Sports division under Roone Arledge, then head of ABC Sports. Wallau went on to become a two-time Emmy Award-winning producer and director of ABC's sports coverage. He worked primarily on ABC's boxing coverage with announcer Howard Cosell. In 1986, after Cosell's retirement, Wallau became ABC's boxing analyst. He was honored by the Boxing Writers Association of America as the top television boxing journalist in his first year.

Wallau moved into management in 1993 and was named President of ABC in 2000, with oversight of 11 divisions, including Entertainment, News, Sports, Finance & Sales.

He has served on the Board of Directors of ESPN, the Ad Council and the Paley Center for Media. In 2006, Wallau was honored by UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center with their Humanitarian Award. Wallau is a cancer survivor.

Battle of the Network Stars

Battle of the Network Stars is a series of competitions in which television stars from ABC, CBS, and NBC would compete in various sporting events. A total of 19 of these competitions were held between 1976 and 1988, all of which were aired by ABC.

In 2003, NBC attempted to revive Battle of the Network Stars with a two-hour special.

In 2005, Bravo premiered a revived version of the show named Battle of the Network Reality Stars. Also in 2005, ESPN premiered a short-lived, sports-themed spinoff version of Battle of the Network Stars as Battle of the Gridiron Stars where it features twenty players from the AFC and NFC competing in a variety of tasks that had nothing to do with football.

In 2017, ABC revived the series as a summer series which premiered on June 29, 2017.

Johnny Be Good

Johnny Be Good is a 1988 American comedy film directed by Bud Smith, starring Anthony Michael Hall as the main character, Johnny Walker. The film also features Robert Downey Jr., Paul Gleason, Steve James, Jennifer Tilly and Uma Thurman. Former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon along with sportscaster Howard Cosell make cameo appearances.

Judas Priest, Saga and Ted Nugent, among others, contributed to the soundtrack. The title track, "Johnny B. Goode", originally recorded by Chuck Berry, was re-recorded by Judas Priest for their album, Ram It Down.

List of Kentucky Derby broadcasters

The following is a list of national American television networks and announcers that have broadcast Kentucky Derby.

List of Major League Baseball All-Star Game broadcasters

The following is a list of the American radio and television networks and announcers that have broadcast the Major League Baseball All-Star Game over the years.

List of New York Jets broadcasters

The Jets' flagship radio station is WEPN, 1050 ESPN, with "The Voice of the Jets," Bob Wischusen as the play-by-play announcer and former Jet Marty Lyons as the color analyst. Wischusen, who joined WABC in 1997, took over the play-by-play role in 2002 after Howard David left the organization earlier in the year. Lyons would join Wischusen the same year after the team began a re-evaluation of the broadcasting booth that would result in the surprising firing of Dave Jennings, "a smart and credible analyst," after fourteen years in the booth.WABC, which served three separate stints as the Jets' radio flagship, simulcasted WEPN's coverage over its airwaves from 2002 until 2008. Jets radio broadcasts have also been carried over WCBS, which also served two stints as the Jets' flagship and last carried games over the air in 1992, and WFAN, which aired games from 1993 through 1999.Any preseason games not nationally televised are shown on WCBS-TV. Ian Eagle, who was previously the radio voice of the Jets, calls the action on those telecasts. SportsNet New York, which serves as the home of the Jets, airs over 250 hours of "exclusive, in depth" material on the team in high definition.Notable past play-by-play announcers for the Titans/Jets include the legends Howard Cosell, Bob Murphy, Merle Harmon, Marty Glickman and Howard David, who has called the Super Bowl and the NBA Finals for Westwood One and ESPN Radio.

List of Preakness Stakes broadcasters

The following is a list of national American television networks and announcers that have broadcast Preakness Stakes.

List of Pro Bowl broadcasters

The following is a list of the television networks and announcers who have broadcast the National Football League's Pro Bowl throughout the years.

Mark Patrick

Mark Patrick Storen (born c. 1959), better known by his professional name Mark Patrick, is an American radio personality based in Indianapolis. Starting out on satellite radio, he was part of MLB Network Radio as the co-host of Baseball This Morning along with Buck Martinez and Larry Bowa . Patrick also hosted the Hoosier Lottery television game show Hoosier Millionaire for 14 years. Patrick also had a nationally syndicated morning show on Fox Sports Radio for a few years. Patrick was primary sports anchor for WISH-TV from 1990 to 1998.

Patrick also provided a number of voice characterizations on The Bob and Tom Show for many years beginning in the late '80s. His characters included a fictional traffic reporter named "T.C." and impressions of Howard Cosell, Harry Caray, and Marge Schott. The Harry Caray character had a recurring skit called "After Hours Sports with Harry Caray" where "Harry" would interview various celebrities. After the real Harry Caray died in 1998, the skit was renamed "After Life Sports with Harry Caray" so that Patrick could continue his comic impression as the ghost of Harry Caray.

Patrick graduated from Brownsburg High School in 1977, and then attended Ball State University. Patrick married Pam Nelson and they have two children; son Drew Storen is a Major League Baseball pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds.

Monday Night Mayhem

Monday Night Mayhem is a 2002 television film about the origin of ABC's television series Monday Night Football. It debuted on the U.S. cable TV network TNT. It was based on the 1988 nonfiction book of the same title by Marc Gunther and Bill Carter.

Muhammad Ali vs. Jimmy Young

Muhammad Ali and Jimmy Young fought a boxing match on April 30, 1976. Ali won the bout through a unanimous decision on points. This bout was aired live in primetime on ABC with Howard Cosell calling the action from the Capitol Centre in Landover, Maryland.

Prior to the bout, Muhammad Ali's trainer Angelo Dundee put up a message board to Ali saying "Remember San Diego" That was when Ali overweight lost a 12-round split decision to Ken Norton on March 31, 1973 in that city, knowing just before this bout Ali trained lightly and overweight, thankfully no repeat this time around.

Ali cane into the bout at 230 pounds, the heaviest he's ever been for any fight until 1981 when he weighted 236 pounds in a bout with Trevor Berbick.

During the bout on six occasions, Young ducked outside of the ropes when he was pressured by Ali. He did it in the seventh round, the eighth, the 12th, twice in the 13th and once more in the 15th. When he did it in the 12th round, the referee ruled it a knockdown and began to count. Young pulled his head back into the ring at the count of two.


Muhammad Ali vs. Ron Lyle

Muhammad Ali and Ron Lyle fought a boxing match on May 16, 1975. Ali won the bout through a technical knockout in the 11th round.This bout was aired live primetime in the United States via ABC with Howard Cosell doing the play-by-play and it took place in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Recurring Saturday Night Live characters and sketches introduced 1984–1985

The following is a list of recurring Saturday Night Live characters and sketches introduced between October 6, 1984, and April 13, 1985, the tenth season of SNL.

Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell

Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell was an American television comedy-variety program that ran on ABC from September 1975 to January 1976, hosted by Howard Cosell and executive-produced by Roone Arledge. The series ran for 18 episodes before being cancelled. The show was later remembered by its director Don Mischer as "one of the greatest disasters in the history of television", largely because Cosell and Arledge—both veterans of sports broadcasting—were entirely unfamiliar with comedy and variety programming.Despite having highly notable celebrities both as cast members and guests, Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell has never been made available on home video.

Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell is consistently confused with the sketch comedy program Saturday Night Live. In October 1975, rival network NBC began airing the late night comedy show NBC's Saturday Night, the creation of producer Lorne Michaels. The shows did not compete for the same time slot. Cosell's Saturday Night Live aired at 8 p.m. ET/PT, whereas NBC's Saturday Night aired at 11:30 p.m. After Cosell's show was cancelled, the NBC show was renamed Saturday Night Live.


Shadowboxing is an exercise used in the training for combat sports, especially, as its name implies, in boxing. It is used mainly to prepare the muscles before the person training engages in stronger physical activity. In shadowboxing, only one person is required to participate; the participant throws punches at no one in particular. Muhammad Ali once performed a now famous shadowboxing routine next to Howard Cosell for ABC's Wide World of Sports television cameras.

Sinatra – The Main Event (TV program)

Sinatra: The Main Event was an ABC musical television special starring Frank Sinatra broadcast on October 13, 1974. The special documents a concert given by Sinatra at Madison Square Garden in New York City, in which Sinatra is accompanied by the Woody Herman band, and introduced by Howard Cosell.The concert that was broadcast, was the last of a series of six that Sinatra gave at Madison Square Garden in October 1974, the audio from the concerts had also been taped and the highlights would be released as The Main Event – Live. The saxophonist Jerry Doidgson who performed on the concerts felt that the televised performance wasn't as strong as the others as Sinatra's natural pacing of the concert was disrupted by the mechanisms of television production.

The Adventures of Ali and His Gang vs. Mr. Tooth Decay

The Adventures of Ali and His Gang vs. Mr. Tooth Decay is a 1976 educational album by the American heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali. The album was recorded to raise awareness of tooth decay among children. The album features several notable personalities including Howard Cosell, Frank Sinatra, and Ossie Davis. The album was recorded in the year of the United States Bicentennial, and makes several patriotic references to America's past including the Liberty Bell and Paul Revere.It was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Recording for Children at the 19th Annual Grammy Awards in 1977.Ali also made a short film on children's dental hygiene, in which Mr Tooth Decay was played by Chuck Wepner. Ali later boxed against Mr. Tooth Decay during Dental Hygiene for Children Day in Washington, D. C. in January 1980.The album was officially approved by the American Dental Association.

The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast

The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast was an NBC television special show hosted by entertainer Dean Martin in 1974–1984. For a series of 54 specials and shows, Martin and his friends would "roast" a celebrity. The roasts were patterned after the roasts held at the New York Friars' Club.

Related programs
Related articles
Key figures
World Series
AL Championship Series
NL Championship Series
AL Division Series
NL Division Series
All-Star Game
Related articles
Key figures
NBA Finals
All-Star Game
Related programs
Related articles
Key figures
Belmont Stakes
Breeders' Cup
Kentucky Derby
Preakness Stakes
Game coverage
Former key figures

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.